New Find – Lay’s Biscuits and Gravy Potato Chips 

  

This is kind of an unusual review, I have to admit. Lay’s has this flavor contest. I think they did it last year but I don’t recall the flavors. Imagine my surprise this year when I saw that they have a Biscuits and Gravy flavor! You know you want to try them. 

  
This morning we were looking for something “light” for breakfast. Ordinarily I would not consider potato chips, but these have “biscuit” in the name so I made an exception. 

  
They looked, as one might expect, like potato chips, with flavor dusted lightly over them and what appears to be a bit of pepper. They tasted, if not exactly like biscuits and/or gravy, really good! If I didn’t know what they were going for, I don’t think I would have guessed. Regardless, there was a bit of buttermilk tang to it, pepper, and some other spice that did remind me of sausage.   

 

Overall, I think they did a really good job with this flavor combo. There are three others: Reuben, Gyro, and  Truffle. You can vote on your favorite, starting tomorrow. I doubt I’ll try the other flavors, but I just might vote. The  story from the submission is kind of cute, the chips were good, and, well, biscuits!

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Simple Shortcuts: Powdered Buttermilk

Banana Biscuits au Chocolat | Persnickety Biscuit

Until now, I have been fairly strict with my biscuit ingredient choices. I choose buttermilk, not the milk and lemon juice substitute many swear by. Butter, not margarine. White Lily flour, not store brand. But there are times you can’t get to the store but you still want biscuits, so what do you do?

The fact is that there are many more variations on biscuit ingredients and recipes than there are readers of this blog, so there are a lot of answers to that question. I decided to test one out that I have not heard anyone else mention: powdered buttermilk.

Powdered Buttermilk| Persnickety Biscuit

This nifty little invention can be found in the baking aisle of your local grocery store – where evaporated, condensed, and powdered milks are to be found. Directions for use are on the side of the container. Basically, a few tablespoons of the mix are added to your dry ingredients. Then water or some other kind of liquid is added at the appropriate time.

Biscuit Dough| Persnickety Biscuit

 

For my experiment, I decided to use my banana biscuit recipe as my base. I used the appropriate amount of powdered buttermilk and mixed it in with the flour. Then I chose almond milk as my liquid, because that is what I had on hand. Besides, I figured the vanilla flavor in the milk would just be a bonus.

Otherwise, I pretty much followed the recipe. Of course, I also used some of the dough to make little chocolate filled pockets because, well, why not?

Banana Biscuits au Chocolat | Persnickety Biscuit

Banana Biscuits au Chocolat

Why choose this biscuit recipe?
This was all about convenience. I had all of the ingredients on hand: the overripe banana, almond milk, and powdered buttermilk.

What is persnickety about this biscuit recipe?
The thing that surprised me was when I added the wet ingredients to the dry. The dough was initially too dry, so I added a little more liquid. Then it seemed like the dough got really wet, really fast. I wondered if there were some kind of chemical reaction with the powdered buttermilk and the liquid that caused this. Do any of you readers know?

So how were the biscuits?
Delicious! We enjoyed a few of them and then the rest were bundled up and left with a friend who was dealing with a family crisis. At the end of all of my recipes, I say “Share with someone you love,” so that is what I did. She reported back that they did not last long in her household.

Banana Biscuits | Persnickety Biscuit

 

New Find! Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese BISCUITS

Nashvillians take note. There is a new pimento cheese in town – Professor Bailey’s Spicy Pimento Cheese, to be specific.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Sometimes, it pays to know people. This was one of those times. Tom Bailey, owner and head pimento-cheese maker for Professor Bailey’s Pimento Cheese, went to high school with my brother. When I heard about his new venture, I asked if I could get an advance sample. To my surprise, he showed up on my doorstep with a cooler full of goodies. Pimento Cheese, Pimento Cheese Gougeres, AND Pimento Cheese Biscuits. [He’ll soon be offering a pimento cheese mornay sauce, too.]

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese

The gougeres and biscuits came uncooked and frozen, so into the freezer they went. I wanted to save those for a leisurely weekend breakfast. I immediately opened up the pimento cheese container, though, and had a sample.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese

Now, I grew up in the south – I’m actually a native Nashvillian, as is Tom. So I grew up with pimento cheese. My memory of it is as a kind of gloppy spread with something resembling cheese in it. Not the best of impressions. THIS pimento cheese, though? Professor Bailey’s Pimento Cheese? Totally different. Real cheese, clearly more than one kind, sharp, grated, just barely held together with a little mayo, and graced with enough jalapeño to give it a kick and that distinctive peppery flavor. One bite and I knew this was something different. But could I wait until the weekend for the biscuits?

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

It was hard, but I did manage to wait. When I finally took the biscuits out of the freezer and put them on the baking sheet my first thought was, “These are the cutest biscuits I’ve ever seen!” They even have these little hats on them. Precious. My second thought was, “I’m going to need more of these.” My third thought was, “They are SO cute!”

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Ok, I’ll get off of the cute subject. But they are. Cute.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Anyway, I baked them up and they rose prfectly, lilting off to the side slightly, gaining even more personality. You can see how full of cheese they are. As is, they provide a perfect bite or two straight out of the oven. If you know me, though, you know I had to try a variety of accoutrements.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

Here is the sampling I prepared. Honey butter, bacon, sausage, and extra pimento cheese. Honey butter went wonderfully with this biscuit, because, well, honey butter goes with everything! The bacon, baked with pepper and brown sugar like I learned to do when making this recipe, was perfect. There was just enough sweet, salt, and pepper to enhance, rather than overwhelm, the flavor of the biscuit.

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

The sausage, while delicious, did overwhelm the biscuit, so was my least favorite combination. Finally, adding just a little pimento cheese as filling lent a creamy texture that was delightful. Overall,  my first and second choices would be to either have this biscuit plain – straight from the oven – or with bacon.

Are you ready for some pimento cheese and biscuits now? If so, you can find Tom at the Farmer’s Market  Thursday-Sunday. Professor Bailey’s products can also be found at Lazzaroli’s pasta shop in Germantown, which is a wonderful little shop. Apparently, they make pimento cheese ravioli, too. You might just see me there, because I am fresh out of pimento cheese!

Professor Bailey's Spicy Pimento Cheese Biscuits

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For more info, check out Professor Bailey’s Facebook page. His website is not up and running yet, but should be soon. And Chris Chamberlain did a great write-up in the Nashville Scene this week.

New Find! Granny Hester’s Sweet Potato Biscuits

I almost missed it. I was in the frozen aisle, casually reviewing the biscuit options. There was something different – this little unassuming bag that did not seem to belong next to the flashy corporate packaging of the Pillsbury and Sister Schubert offerings. Could it be?

Granny Hester's

Ok – let me back up a little. I don’t go to just one grocery store. In fact, if I add them up, I’ve been to over 15 different grocery stores just in Nashville in the last few years. Oh my. I’ve never counted before. That is a lot of stores.

Anyway, this is partly because the little grocery store nearest where I live is tiny and crowded and has not had the best reputation. When I first moved to the east side of town nine years ago, I was afraid to go to this store after dark. Aside from the security issues, the selection was very limited and the produce unreliable. It has improved a lot over the years but is still small. So I got into the habit of trying out different grocery stores in different parts of town. I go grocery shopping on a whim, just because I happen to be out with friends or visiting my mother in a nicer part of town where there is more than one spacious, clean, and fully stocked store.

Because I really like grocery shopping! I always have. I like walking up and down the aisles looking at the incredible variety of products. I like seeing what is new and pondering the use of the more obscure items in the international sections. I mourn the loss of discontinued favorites while i rejoice in the introduction of the new.

Given all that, it should come as no surprise that every time I pass the biscuit sections of a store, whether refrigerated, fresh, or frozen, I am alert and on the lookout for something new.

Last week, after having a lovely afternoon visit with my mother, I went to Publix. I was in the frozen aisle, just casually reviewing the biscuit options. Then I saw it. This little package that was almost obscured by the Pillsbury and Sister Schubert offerings. Could it possibly be biscuits?

Granny Hester's

I opened the case and pulled out this little plastic bag with a picture of someone’s grandmother on it. Granny Hester, to be specific. There were six orange disks inside. Sweet potato biscuits! I felt like I had found a pot of gold.

I baked them over the weekend. They did not rise very much but that seemed to be due to the large proportion of sweet potatoes and relatively small amount of flour.

Sweet Potato Biscuit with butter

They were quite sweet and we definitely did not need any of the strawberry jam I had pulled out of the fridge.

They were great with chicken sausage, although a spicier sausage would have been an even better foil for the sweet.

Sweet Potato Biscuit with sausage

The next day I did the Toast Test. I split the one leftover biscuit (yes, only one was left) and put a healthy dollop of butter on each side. You have to put enough butter on them – don’t skimp! Then they went into the toaster oven which was preheated to about 375 degrees. I toasted them for at least 12 minutes, maybe 15. I think that is the key to the best crispy, crunchy, toasty biscuits – cooking slowly in an oven that is not too hot.

Oh. My. Word. These biscuit halves were transformed from good biscuits into caramelized crispy shards of sweet potato perfection. They were like candy. The only problem is that there were not enough of them.

Toasted Sweet Potato Biscuit

Bottom line? I really liked these. But rather than buy them again, I’m feeling inspired to make my own next time. It will be fun to see if I can meet the Granny Hester standard.

Chemo and Biscuits

When I was being treated for breast cancer a couple of years ago, chemotherapy did a number on my taste buds. It was like having bad “cotton mouth” for weeks on end. But I still had an appetite of sorts, because they give you really good medicines to counteract potential nausea. Food still smells good, but then you taste it and . . .ugh. Not so good. For whatever reason, I found that I craved biscuits. Not fresh baked biscuits, but the toasted leftovers.

Toasted Biscuits

I remember when I was a little girl my mother used to buy these par-baked biscuits. They came in a little rectangular pan and were small. Maybe 1 ½ inches square. Mom would heat them up for breakfast. At the next meal, she would toast the leftovers, splitting them in half and putting a little pat of butter on top before they went into the oven. They would come out all crispy and golden and buttery. Wonderful.

Marshall's Buttermilk Biscuits

Marshall’s Buttermilk Biscuits

THEN, the leftovers from toasting would go into a baggie and we would eat those at room temperature later. Now, I don’t know why any biscuits would have lasted long enough to go into that bag. You would think with a family of five, a tray of biscuits would disappear in a heartbeat. I don’t know. But I do know that the leftovers in the baggie were my favorite. They had a crispy, buttery, salty crust, with tender biscuit inside. They kind of crumbled in my mouth with a texture that is different from any other kind of bread or cracker.

Marshall's Buttermilk Biscuits

I don’t think the packaging has changed a bit!

When I began to crave biscuits during chemo, it was for those toasted ones. I found them at the East Nashville Piggly Wiggly, which has become my favorite spot for frozen biscuits.

I know biscuits are not the healthiest food for someone fighting cancer. I do. But I figured that since I was going through chemo I could make some allowances. Besides, I still did not have a great appetite. When I found something I wanted to eat, I did not judge.

More Toasty Goodness

More Toasty Goodness

Want to make your own shards of buttery toasted biscuity goodness? Just split any biscuit in half, spread a generous dollop of butter or margarine on top, and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Mystery Biscuit

I didn’t plan for it to happen. We were actually thinking of going hiking. Then there were biscuits. And the Piggly Wiggly. IMG_0670

Ok, wait, let me start at the beginning. We were away for the weekend in an area called the Cumberland Plateau. On Saturday we’d gone on a lovely hike to Greeter Falls, one of my favorite places. On Sunday, we figured out where the trailhead was for the waterfall that the cabin owners had said was a “must see.” It was in the town of Gruetli-Laager, TN.

Now, I used to spend a lot of time in this area of Tennessee and the only thing I knew about Gruetli-Laager is that they have a Piggly Wiggly. So as we drove and the rain started coming down, I thought to myself, “At least we can go to the Piggly Wiggly.”

I put the Piggly Wiggly into the map on my phone and watched our progress. We slowly got closer but it seemed to take longer than expected. At one point, I thought I saw a few buildings ahead and cried out, “We’re almost there!”

“Where?!” he said, excitedly.

“I don’t know, but we must be getting close to something!” And we laughed.IMG_0671

Anyway, hiking was definitely out of the question, but the Piggly Wiggly was open and warm and dry. We perused the shelves, marveling at the humongous (truly) cans of turnip greens and various cuts of meat we had never seen anywhere before.

Then we saw them. It was a very simple package. Easy to miss if you did not know what you were looking for. Just a stack of frozen biscuits in a plastic bag. The most basic of nutritional info and no other labeling whatsoever. No brand. Not even a distributor location. I had to get them.IMG_0655

The next weekend I baked some of them up. That’s how you say it, you know. “Bake them up.” Just look at how they turned out! IMG_0663

Those simple little disks rose into these fabulous fluffy, tasty biscuits! Amazing.IMG_0664

The next day, I did the toasted biscuit test. I slathered them in butter and baked them for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees. They just browned a little at the edges. I put some Maple Cinnamon Button on one of them. Ahhh. Look how yummy. IMG_0678I have to admit, though, that they were not as good as I had hoped when they had cooled later that day. But I have some other biscuits that are perfect as leftover, leftover toasted biscuits. But that’s a post for another day.